8 Traits of the Best Executive Assistants

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Introduction

You’re here because you want to know what makes a great Executive Assistant.

It is exactly this curiosity about the common, inherent behaviours of high performers that led us to create AbilityMap.

Perhaps you’re reading this because you are in an Executive Assistant role and you want to understand how to be better. Maybe you’re an industrious candidate, looking at applying for a role and wanting to understand what traits to highlight in your resume. Or perhaps you’ve got a job to fill and you want to arm yourself with powerful knowledge that will help you make a good hiring decision.

Whatever reason you have for wanting to better understand the drivers of high performance, we’re with you.

About This Report

This report has been compiled through analysing a number of Executive Assistant Job Profiles which have been created using the AbilityMap system. It also combines the experience of our team of industrial psychologists, led by Kevin Chandler, a pioneer in the Australian recruitment industry.

Since its launch in 2017, AbilityMap has profiled hundreds of jobs for some of Australia’s most successful companies. We have been able to extrapolate this data to provide some powerful insights into the drivers of high performance across a number of key business roles.

This report details our research into the traits of the best Executive Assistants along with the behaviours that they display on a day-to-day basis.

About The Author

Kevin followed his father’s footsteps and cut his teeth in the family recruitment business, Chandler Macleod Consultants after graduating from the University of Melbourne with a Bachelor of Commerce (Economics and Psychology majors) in 1969. He is a Registered
Psychologist and Chartered Management Consultant.

In 1995, Kevin became the Founding Managing Director of what is now CMG (Chandler Macleod Group), one of Australia’s most significant listed public companies in the Human Resources space with turnover in excess of $1.5billion. From the get go, Kevin also lead the R & D function of CMG, which included a team of senior organisational psychologists, statisticians, systems developers and software engineers all focused on improving people analytics and productivity outcomes.

Kevin is experienced in acquisitions, mergers, fundraising and multisite, multi-state operations. Among his many esteemed positions, Kevin was also formerly a Director of Nanyang Ventures, an Australian Venture Capital Fund Manager. Nanyang managed the St George Development Fund of over $100m.

After he retired in 2010, Kevin focused on developing a new recruitment process based on identifying the high performance drivers for any role, resulting in the creation of the AbilityMap process. He has lectured extensively in the area of personality and understanding individual differences including guest lectures at Macquarie University and the MBA School at the AGSM. In addition, he has conducted many organisational review assignments, large and small, resulting in significant productivity improvement and cost savings. He has also written articles on contemporary HR issues, as well as being a regular commentator in the media.

The 8 Common Traits of Top Executive Assistants:

1. Showing Professionalism

  • They are punctual, keep appointments and honour the commitments they make
  • They meet challenges head on and generally go over and above what is expected of them
  • They believe appearances are important and are always aware of how they present themselves
  • When something needs to be done, they get to work on it straight away
  • They take actions calculated to have a positive effect on others

2. Accepting Responsibility

  • Follow through on commitments and take the time to complete tasks properly despite obstacles that may be in the way
  • Are hard-working and set high standards for themselves and others
  • Like to exceed their commitment to others by frequently delivering work earlier than expected
  • Maintain their ethical principles even under the most challenging circumstances
  • Will work whatever hours are required to complete assigned work

3. Operating Independently

  • Have faith in their own ideas and their own point of view
  • Capable of working competently without supervision
  • Are willing to speak up when they disagree with a decision or strategy
  • Approach challenges with a ‘can-do’ attitude
  • Always work to high personal standards
  • Feel comfortable making their own decisions and standing behind them

4. Adapting to Change

  • Adapt easily to new situations and catches onto things quickly
  • Can manage many different things at the same time
  • Are open to new experiences and can change course if necessary
  • Adapts tactics or breaks down barriers to achieve optimal, timely results
  • Are able to see the merits of perspectives other than their own
  • Demonstrate openness to new organisational structures,
    procedures, and technology

5. Coping With Pressure

  • Usually work on improving things, instead of getting frustrated, when everything seems to be going wrong
  • Are calm even in tense situations and during emergencies
  • Maintain absolute emotional control at all times, rarely losing their composure
  • Listen to their brain rather than their heart
  • Have a high ability to present a positive approach in the face of opposition

6. Listening To Others

  • Always pay attention and listen during meetings and conversations, letting others finish what they are saying
  • Asks questions and paraphrases what others say to confirm their understanding and avoid miscommunication
  • Appreciates the viewpoints of others and seldom becomes irritated in response to what a person says
  • Are open to ideas
  • Believe that there are many sides to most issues

7. Working With Words

  • Write grammatically correct communications
  • Organise ideas clearly in oral speech and expresses ideas clearly and concisely in writing
  • Tailors content to the level and experience of the audience
  • Has the ability to solve problems and see relationships quickly and accurately when working with complex written information
  • Effectively transfers thoughts and expresses ideas in individual or group situations

8. Displaying Initiative

  • Can throw new light on the situation and think of new ways to do things
  • Turns ideas or plans into action
  • Are strongly motivated to improve processes, methods, systems or services
  • Evaluates new technology for potential solutions to existing problems
  • Identifies novel approaches for completing work assignments more effectively/efficiently
  • Does more than is normally required in a situation

Where to Next?

If you’re a candidate looking to apply for an EA position, we invite you to do our FREE Ability Imprint and discover what your top 8 strengths are. We encourage you to include your Ability Imprint report with your resume for job applications. It is a great way to highlight your strengths to potential employers and set yourself apart.

If you’re looking to hire an EA and want to assess your candidates against our EA Job Profile then read on…

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